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old location. >> how fun. >> i know. we've got to go check it out. >> nightly news is next. >> see you again at 6:00. >> good night, folks. on our broadcast tonight, closing in on a suspect in boston. a day of rapid developments, some false reports tonight based on imagery from the scene. investigators appear to know who they are looking for. defeated. the post-newtown gun control legislation goes down in the senate. there are cries of "shame" from victims of gun violence wahing from the senate gallery. and the president reacts with anger. high alert in washington after an unnerving day there. letters sent to the president and at least one u.s. senator have tested positive for the poisonous substance ricin. and making a difference as some very welcome rescuers come to the aid of the people of boston. to the aid of the people of boston. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening. now the investigation in boston is moving. after a day of fits and starts and several false reports, it appears that from a mountain of evidence has emerged an image, a series of images that likely show the bomber that police are looking for. parts of boston are still shut down. it was another jittery day there after a bomb threat at the federal courthouse this afternoon. this is the bombing scene tonight. we have learned more about the devices themselves as this case, as we said, now picks up speed. while the fbi is urging caution and asking for patience especially from the news media, it appears they have pictures of their suspect. our justice correspondent pete williams has been following the investigation all day. he's in our d.c. newsroom tonight. pete, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. the fbi is pursuing very
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promising leads. one in particular tonight thanks to the abundance of pictures and videos rounded up in the two days since the bombing. we are getting a close-up look at how the bombs were made. >> guys, guys, guys. no way. >> reporter: the fbi says it is getting exactly what it asked for. pictures from several sources showing someone carrying a heavy backpack or duffel bag and placing it at the spot where one bomb went off. one of the most promising images, they say, comes from a department store surveillance camera high up on a building, able to look down at the crowd. on a day when incorrect news reports of an arrest distracted officials, investigators were working aggressively to discover, find, and interview that person. that's at the scene of the second bombing following the first by about 15 seconds. it's that second spot shown on this picture sent to nbc station whdh showing a garbage bag next to a trash can. while investigators cannot be sure that bag contained the bomb
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federal officials tell nbc news that is the spot where the second bomb went off. former atf bomb investigator jim cavanaugh said it is obvious to him looking at the pictures. >> large injuries were on the side of it. debris field to the left. some protected areas over on the right side that indicate the blast was to one side of the trash receptacle. this was the scene of the blast. >> reporter: we are also seeing close-up photos of the actual pieces of the bomb. showing the pressure cooker deformed by the blast, one of its lids blown to the top of a nearby building. they are a favorite of bomb makers because explosive pressure builds up before it is released. investigators can now begin to trace down where components were bought since they know the maker of the pressure cooker, the type of rechargeable flashlight batteries used -- made in china, but widely available -- and even the type of wire -- also made in china -- used to hook the main components together. bomb technicians are examining two electronic components included in the bombs to see whether they were parts of timers or receivers for a remote detonation signal. all potentially promising leads,
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says a bomb expert. >> it depends on how unique the bomb components are, how identifiable the characteristics are, what other forensics involved in that, whether it be fingerprints, dna, et cetera. >> reporter: investigators are optimistic that they are close to the answer of who did this and why in an investigation that's moving very rapidly on several fronts. >> about that rapid speed and optimism, pete williams, thanks. we want to bring in the former director of the national counterterrorism center. michael leiter is our nbc news counterterrorism analyst. you received from your sources a caution today that this perhaps was running on ahead of itself. and this can have a bad effect on an investigation. >> absolutely. with all the media reporting about the possible arrests, they are very worried about the person or people being spooked and they are nervous about expectations at this point. for a while people were saying it's not going fast enough.
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now people expect an arrest in the near hours and the fact is knowing the person it can still take some time. >> now about the evidence. we have a big haystack here. so far we have found some of the needles down to the zipper pull on what could have been the bag and the wires and the battery. we also have imagery -- tons of it -- and that has to be a big early help. >> that is invaluable. it's something even three or four years ago we wouldn't have had. all of that imagery from the stores, the police and people, you combine that with the forensic evidence and the secret intelligence we are not hearing about from human intelligence sources, cell phone records, things like that. that paints the mosaic from which they find their suspect. >> yesterday at the airport, logan airport in boston, they were telling people, before you leave our city, do you have anything, do you remember anything? all of that helps. >> absolutely. every bit of it. it does one more thing. it shows that the public has to
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be involved in this. it isn't just about saying fbi will go get them. people before an attack, after an attack, the public has a huge role to play in helping them find someone and being resilient after. >> the definition of social media. michael leiter, thank you for your reporting all day. as we said it's been a day of rapidly moving developments. as investigators continue to do their work, doctors continue to do theirs in boston. after saving so many lives, after dealing, remember, with what looked like combat injuries, some victims are now leaving the hospital telling their stories for the first time. nbc's anne thompson with us tonight from boston with that angle of the story. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. tonight the city of boston is preparing for the arrival of president obama who will attend an interfaith service tomorrow and preparing for what many know will be a long, difficult journey to recovery. in boston, vows of resolve today amid emotions that are still raw. a relieved 20-year-old sarah gerard left the hospital with her leg in a cast.
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>> i have a fractured shin bone and a fractured heel bone from the shrapnel that hit it. >> reporter: for liz norden, there is no relief. her two sons, paul and jp, each lost a leg and were burned. >> i'm waiting to wake up from this nightmare. i'm hoping it's not real. >> reporter: even secretary of state john kerry, massachusetts senator for 28 years, struggled as he testified before congress. >> you know, boston is not going to be intimidated by this. but we are going to find out who did this. >> reporter: boston is a city still on edge. a bomb scare forced the evacuation of the federal courthouse. and it is a city in mourning. boston university student lingzi lu identified as the third victim of the bombing. the 23-year-old graduate student from china was watching the marathon with two other friends. dave king finished the marathon monday. an hour later he was in the operating room at massachusetts general hospital.
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the trauma surgeon who served in iraq and afghanistan, suddenly faced decisions he thought he'd left on the battlefield -- whether to amputate. >> naturally, you will always choose life over limb. >> reporter: after multiple amputations and three gruelling days of surgery, king is astonished by his patients' resilience. >> they understand that losing a a limb was required to save a their life. and they are just at peace with that. i don't understand how. >> reporter: the strength of the victims inspiring the strength of the city. >> we only care about three things in this town -- politics, sports and revenge. our revenge is to go back to normal. what happened to us the other day will not cow us. it will not change us. >> reporter: while most of boston is back at its normal routine, doctors acknowledge that the physical and emotional recovery will take not only months but most likely years, especially for those who will
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suffer with post traumatic stress disorder. brian? >> anne thompson at the command post in boston tonight. anne, thanks. while all of this was going on today a short time ago at the white house, surrounded by victims of gun violence including newtown families, president obama showed a rare flash of anger because the gun control legislation that was supposed to tighten background checks was defeated today in the u.s. senate. the president called it a pretty shameful day for washington. nbc's kelly o'donnell with us from capitol hill tonight. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the mood inside the senate chamber, which was packed, was intense with emotion as gun victims, survivors and many of the newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks. tonight, the president gave the
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rose garden microphone over to a newtown dad, mark barden. >> we'll return home now, disappointed but not defeated. >> reporter: the president, clearly angry -- >> the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. >> reporter: -- lashed out at congress. >> this was a pretty shameful day for washington. this effort is not over. i want to make it clear to the american people. we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence so long as the american people don't give up on it. >> reporter: from the steps of air force one last week to the u.s. capitol again today, newtown families who know the pain of gun violence had been
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unwilling to give up. >> our hearts are broken. our spirit is not. >> reporter: gabby giffords, who has personally lobbied senators, called the failure to pass expanded background checks unthinkable. today being heard or consoled was not enough for patricia. tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, "shame on you." >> shame on you! >> order in the senate. >> they have no compassion. >> reporter: some newtown families held more private meetings. no media coverage. republican senator mark kirk's staff took these pictures. the latest nbc maris poll shows nearly 9 of 10 surveyed want tighter restrictions on gun sales. four republicans voted yes to extend background checks to commercial sales at gun shows and the internet. >> expanded background checks would not have prevented newtown. >> reporter: conservative opposition was strong. >> this is the first step in the erosion of our rights under the second amendment.
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>> we are trying to take it to the violent criminal. rather than taking it to the innocent second amendment law abiding citizen. >> reporter: usually a vice president arrives to preside over a winning vote. biden was here to witness its defeat. >> the amendment is not agreed to. >> reporter: four democrats from red states with high gun ownership also voted no. in talking to those democrats who voted no, they say they had intense pressure from their home state constituents who did not want to see expanded background checks. also tonight, senators voted down an assault weapons ban and limits on high capacity ammunition. it is possible that democrats will simply shelve this legislation in order to try again some day down the line. brian? >> again, the president calling this round one. kelly o'donnell on the hill tonight after an eventful day there. kelly, thanks. still ahead for us this evening, the unsettling development elsewhere in washington. who sent letters laced with ricin to the president and at least one u.s. senator? evacuations there today as memories of the anthrax attacks came rushing back. later, making a difference. they are here with the help of some very comforting visitors at a hospital in boston.
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we're back. as we said, contributing to an overall feeling of unease today was this word out of washington starting last night that the poisonous substance ricin, which most of us first got a lesson in in the days after 9/11. ricin has been found on letters mailed to the president and at least one u.s. senator. the letters were stopped at a sorting facility and never were allowed through. nbc's andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom has been covering this today. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. nerves were already on edge in the capitol because of boston when those letters possibly containing lethal poisons were intercepted. one addressed to a senator. another to the president of the united states. for an hour and a half this morning alerts were sounded on capitol hill.
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>> close the other side of the street. we are closing off the sidewalk. >> reporter: some senate offices were cleared. staff in others were told to stay inside. after two letters -- one to mississippi republican senator roger wicker, the second to president obama -- tested preliminarily for ricin. both were quarantined at a post office screening facility miles away in maryland. built after the anthrax attacks that killed five and injured 17 across the nation in 2001. >> the president -- i'm sure you will ask this. the president has, of course, been briefed on these letters. he was briefed last night and again this morning. >> reporter: the fbi said both were postmarked memphis, tennessee, on april 8. they used the same language. quote, to see a wrong and not expose it is to become a silent partner to its continuance. a phrase often used by radical groups. both letters are signed, i am kc and i approve this message. a third letter went to democratic senator carl levin's office in saginaw, michigan. a staffer who opened the letter there has been hospitalized
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protectively until tests are done. haz-mat teams searched jeff flake's office in phoenix but found nothing suspicious. >> we have had situations where there have been ricin scares. until this date there's never been any proved to have gone through the system. >> reporter: ricin, the poison made from castor beans was used by the soviets in 1978 to assassinate a bulgarian dissident in london by putting it on the tip of an umbrella and stabbing him in the leg. only a drop can kill in 36 to 48 hours. >> if you purify it, it can become much more lethal. in fact, deadly in very minute quantities. >> reporter: tonight federal officials say a suspect named paul kevin curtis has been arrested in mississippi and will be charged with sending the letterers. the fbi sees no relationship with the bombings in boston. still there is an eerie coincidence with the anthrax attacks after 9/11. also unrelated but frightening nonetheless.
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brian? >> andrea mitchell in washington. andrea, thanks. we're back in a moment with a big apology from an airline ceo after a big nightmare day for travellers.
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the united kingdom said good-bye to margaret thatcher today. the funeral at st. paul's cathedral attended by the queen, dignitaries from 170 countries around the world, and all four of maggie thatcher's successors including the current prime minister, david cameron. thatcher's 19-year-old american-born granddaughter amanda gave a reading from the bible. thousands of londoners lined the route to show respect and some protested amid heavy security. margaret thatcher, the so-called iron lady, died last week at 87. we have posted a full report on the day in london by kier simmons on our website tonight. the assassinations of two prominent public officials have
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been in the news. for a time they had investigators baffled. they left the entire state of texas on edge. tonight we can report police say the wife of a former texas justice of the peace has confessed she was involved in the shooting deaths of a district attorney, his wife and a county prosecutor. according to an affidavit she says her husband eric williams pulled the trigger. he has not yet been charged. the two men who were killed in these cases had prosecuted eric williams last year for theft. he was convicted and fired from his job and sentenced to probation as a result. because american airlines had a very bad day yesterday when its computer system went down and the entire fleet was grounded for a time, today they say most of the system is back to normal. there are still some aircrafts that had to put down in some unintended locations. well, because of all of it their ceo tom horton posted an apology video on youtube. he blamed it on a software problem.
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about a thousand flights were cancelled. about 1,200 were delayed. baseball fans and especially red sox fans know the neil diamond modern-day classic "sweet caroline" is the anthem of fenway park. over the past 24 hours as a show of respect and support for boston, the song has been played at baseball games across the country. nowhere was it more impactful than when they played it at yankee stadium. just calling the house that ruth built normally angers sox fans. last night the yanks were playing their song. when we come back, making a difference with some very good dogs providing much-needed comfort to the people of boston.
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this is the corner of boylston and berkeley streets in boston where a memorial has sprouted up about a block from where the bombings took place. it was started by a man from cape cod wanting to express his sadness. folks saw it. they have been stopping by all day dropping off flowers and cards. a lot of the signs we have seen feature the slogan of the moment in that city -- boston strong.
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finally tonight our making a difference report. we have seen it all too many times lately. they are a welcome sign when they arrive on the scene -- the therapy dogs who show up to comfort the humans who have been through a trauma. well, they are on the job tonight in boston. we get the story tonight from nbc's kerry sanders. >> reporter: for two days all 15-year-old david yepez has heard and thought about are his injuries from the second explosion. >> this is ruthie. >> reporter: but today, david smiled. >> we have a dog at home. he's a small yorkie terrier. >> reporter: for just a moment luther and ruthie made the shrapnel that tore through his left leg and the painful second-degree burns almost an afterthought. >> it's relaxing. takes my mind away from everything going on. >> reporter: today lutheran church charities deployed the comfort brigade at tufts medical center. dogs that have been working with other recovering children in newtown, connecticut. >> come on, puppy.
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>> reporter: quiet peaceful visitors who leeann says set her nerves at ease hours before the surgery on her wounded leg. >> animals, you know, they just have a different sense, you know. they don't talk back to you. >> oh, my goodness! hi! >> reporter: the comfort dogs are like furry therapists and it is not just those who were injured that need relief. how nice is it for you to have just a different moment with a dog? >> my stress level has gone way down. >> they sense love. they sense that somebody is caring. and they sense that in the midst of darkness there is light. >> this is luther. >> reporter: companionship, compassion, and comfort, when it is needed the most. >> you are a big puppy for 2. >> reporter: kerry sanders, nbc news, boston. >> thank goodness for good dogs. that's our broadcast on a wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams.
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we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- now. good evening. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. it has been a frantic day of development, discoveries and family stories and continues into the night both in boston and here in the bay area. we have a series of reports tonight. terry mcsweeney is in boston where friends and family members are coping with the terror. we begin with jodi hernandez in fremont with the local connection to the bomb material. >> unsettling development for
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this fremont battery development. the folks at tenergy are very upset to hear that their battery may have been used for the bomb. a far cry from what the batteries are designed to be used for. tenergy says it is widely used for hobbiests mainly remote control cars and trucks and sold at hundreds of mom and pop hobby shops and sold online. the company's vice president of technology says they are horrified to find out their batteries can be used in such an act. >> horrified, appalled, shocked. batteries used for toys, rc cars and trucks and to see it used in such a way is

NBC Nightly News
NBC April 17, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Boston 25, Washington 7, Fbi 6, Us 6, U.s. 5, Nbc 4, Brian 3, Newtown 3, China 3, Anne Thompson 2, Michael Leiter 2, Pete Williams 2, Andrea Mitchell 2, Texas 2, Massachusetts 2, London 2, Kelly O'donnell 2, Margaret Thatcher 2, Paul 2, Eric Williams 2
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